4 Reasons Kenyans Are Switching to Hollow Blocks in House Construction

A photo collage of two buildings at different stages of construction.
A photo collage of two buildings at different stages of construction.

Developers are adapting to information technology and research as buildings become more sophisticated and tenants chase new choices and preferences. 

Among the new trends, Kenyans are resorting to, is the emergence of hollow blocks. To determine the reason behind the rising popularity, Kenyans.co.ke spoke to certified building contractor Jonathan Kyalo.

Kyalo, while giving out reasons behind their preference for hollow blocks, opined that they would soon phase out solid blocks.

“Real estate industry has been growing phenomenally in Kenya, with hundreds of new buildings constructed monthly.

A building being constructed using H-blocks
A building being constructed using H-blocks
The Constructor

“The demand for new houses during these tough economic times has made Kenyans look for cheaper building materials alternatives like hollow blocks,” Kyalo revealed the reason behind the rising popularity.

“Hollow blocks popularly known as H-blocks are cheap since in most cases they are made using recycled products like ash. Even when they are made of cement, they are cheaper than solid blocks due to the presence of hollow pits,” he added.

Kyalo further explained that they are preferable to other types of blocks because they are light.

“One of the reasons we have buildings collapsing is the structure carrying excess weight.

“This risk is greatly reduced when a building is constructed using H-blocks,” he revealed in his interview with Kenyans.co.ke.

The contractor further explained that using H-blocks was cost-effective.

The joints in these blocks need less cement compared to solid concrete blocks, and little or no plastering hence saving on cost,” Kyalo explained how you can save money using H-blocks.

Dream Civil, a construction journal, further explains how the hollows in the blocks protect the house from extreme climatic conditions.

“The air in the H-block does not allow heat or cold in or out of the building.  This insulates the building against extreme temperatures, dampness, and sound,” the journal explains.

A photo of Hollow Blocks
A photo of Hollow Blocks
Dream Civil

Despite new trends, developers still grapple with expensive building materials, including cement and steel.

Architectural Association of Kenya’s Status of the Built Environment Report, released in December 2022, attributed the rise in construction costs to increased taxes and runaway inflation. 

A report by Integrum Construction Project Managers, released in early 2023, added that the cost of construction rose in 2022 owing to the high prices of input materials necessitated by inflation and global supply chain disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

In 2022, construction costs ranged between Ksh34,650 to Ksh77,500 per square metre, a significant hike from Kh33,450 to Ksh72,400 per square metre in 2021.

According to developers, construction costs also varied due to the type of property and the quality of materials.